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Registered Apprenticeship Programs: Allowing workers with disabilities to make a living based on personal interests

By Morgan Davis, NACDD Intern

The Build Back Better Act is a piece of legislation that aims to invest funds in the American Economy in order to better support the people in its workforce. It has not been passed yet but it is one of many proposals that the people of America want to become law. One of the notable investments of the act is in Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

According to the Education and Labor Committee’s section by section breakdown of the legislation, $5,000,000,000 is planned to be dispersed over a period of 5 years, with half of the programs serving people that face barriers to work. This includes people with disabilities.

What is a Registered Apprenticeship?

Broadly speaking, Registered Apprenticeships are programs that allow people to gain new skills and connect them with employers looking for workers that possess those specific skills.  These apprenticeships can be in a wide variety of fields including Construction, Healthcare, Energy, Hospitality, and Information Technology, just to name a few.

These types of apprenticeships are paid and allow people to earn national credentials upon completion of programs.  Upon completion, if an apprentice wants to begin working on a traditional college degree, time from the program can be put toward college credit.

In addition to payment, and college credit, once in a registered program, apprentices have access to a network of people working on various apprenticeships nationally, leading to further training and job opportunities.  This is also known as a partnership

Why are Registered Apprenticeships beneficial for Individuals with Disabilities?

As previously stated, the Build Back Better Act appropriates fifty percent of its funding toward nontraditional apprenticeship populations and those who face work barriers. People with disabilities often face hardships in the workforce.  One of the biggest includes acquiring reasonable accommodations to help them succeed.  Registered Apprenticeships that can be customized to fit the needs to meet the skills of the apprentice.  With apprenticeships in different workforce fields, people can also pick programs that suit their interests.  The Department of Labor even includes an inclusion guide regarding people with disabilities.

Registered Apprenticeships support those with disabilities by increasing disability-centered employment rates. They also provide industry-based alternatives to college as well as alternative pathways to college while providing financial stability.  Registered Apprenticeships are beneficial for both the economy and the people working to boost the economy.  This is due to the flexibility and versatility of the program.    

What to take away from this information

There are a few important details to take away from this post. The first item to take away is, this act or plan has not been signed into law. It is a topic that is still being debated across America and in the White House. The second thing to note is that yes, this plan does indeed help individuals with disabilities, however, it is not the only community it helps. Apprenticeship programs are meant to help multiple communities that have barriers to work. Another group it helps is that of nonrational apprenticeship populations. These populations could be women, communities of color, immigrants or former workers who have been displaced due to the pandemic. The last thing to take away from this post is the concept that Registered Apprenticeships are a form of education. People can peruse both apprenticeships and a college degree The two are not mutually exclusive.

More Information  

To learn more about apprenticeships of the Build Back Better Act, visit the following website: https://www.apprenticeship.gov